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Facebook tightens up privacy

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
19 March 2008

Privacy

There are a number of stories floating around about some new Facebook features being released at the moment – the two biggest ones being a new Instant Messaging platform and some heightened security features for photos. Like the new (much-touted) profiles layout, the IM platform hasn’t been released yet so I shall put off commenting on that for now, but the security features are supposedly being rolled out this morning, so let’s take a look at them… Note: Despite the promise that they’d be released this morning, the features aren’t actually live yet.

Fbprivacy_270x360As you can see from the screenshot to the right, the new privacy features apply to photo albums, and allow you to specify who sees each album, right down to a single person. It also seems to be one of the first new uses for the ‘friend lists’ feature, as you can specify which sets of people from your lists can see it.

This is great news for all the people that have fallen foul of pictures accidentally being made public in the past – of course, it still relies on users having a few ounces of common sense to change the settings in the first place, but hopefully Facebook will publicise these new features widely so people won’t miss them.

As soon as the feature goes live I’ll have thorough play around with it and post any updates later today – let us know your thoughts in the comments section!

UPDATE: It looks like I may have been a bit premature – obviously the ‘Wednesday morning’ bit meant US time. The new settings are now live and as predicted above they allow you to change not just your photo privacy option, but your whole profile (see below – divided in to individual elements); applications you have installed (in a much more user-friendly way); your news feed and your search settings. Interestingly, it also splits applications down in to "Authorized Applications" and "Other Applications" – with "other" including information about apps you’ve blocked and information that the "Facebook platform" is and isn’t allowed (according to you) to see about you.

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